Well, Jabari Parker certainly made a good first impression.
The Duke freshman elicited enough raves from basketball savants during and after Tuesday's meeting with Kansas to fill his own large scrapbook -- assuming someone his age is familiar with what a scrapbook is. Among Parker's impressive quantifiable contributions in his second college game, first on a national stage: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 50 percent shooting from the floor (9-18), and perfect marksmanship at the line (5-5).
Combined with 22 points in his debut against Davidson, the 6-8 forward had more points in his first two games at Duke (49 for the mathematically challenged) than any Blue Devil freshman since first-year players became eligible for varsity competition more than 40 seasons ago.
Parker's point production against the Jayhawks, good as it was, didn't rank among the top 10 efforts by a Duke freshman. He has at least 30 more tries to get there, but so far seven Duke newcomers surpassed his scoring output on 10 different occasions.
Several of those efforts rank among the most significant in Duke history, considering the stakes involved, were turned in by J.J. Redick in the finals of the 2003 ACC Tournament and by Austin Rivers in 2012 at Chapel Hill.
N.C. State led the Blue Devils 55-40 with 11:44 remaining when Redick caught fire and the Wolfpack's Julius Hodge began hogging the ball. Over the tournament championship game's last 10 minutes and five seconds, the Duke shooting guard poured in 23 points as the Devils won their fifth straight ACC title. No other team has won more than three in a row.
And of course the last of Rivers' 29 points at Chapel Hill came on a shot of surpassing improbability, a 3-pointer that went through the nets as the buzzer sounded to complete a Duke rally from 10 down with 2:34 to go.
Irving's masterful 31-point, 4-assist performance against Michigan State early in the 2011 season only whetted appetites that were never satisfied. He suffered a foot injury in the following contest against Butler, missed the remainder of the regular season, and played in just 11 games before turning pro.
Also worth noting: Redick's 34 points, highest by a Duke freshman, came against Virginia, the team from his home state. Dawkins' 31- and 29-point efforts likewise came against Maryland. He hailed from Washington, D.C.
Parker's 27 came in Chicago, his hometown.
GETTING RIGHT TO THE POINT(S)
|31||Kyrie Irving||12-1-10||Michigan State||H||84-79||W|
|30||J.J. Redick||3-16-03||N.C. State||ACCT||84-77||W|
|29||Austin Rivers||2-8-12||North Carolina||A||85-84||W|
|28||Mike Gminski||1-19-77||Wake Forest||A||73-85||L|
|28||Gene Banks||1-28-78||East Carolina||H||105-82||W|
|28||Carlos Boozer||1-2-00||William & Mary||H||96-55||W|
|Also by Barry Jacobs today: Duke’s rise a challenge for ACC football|